A heavyweight bout between Ben Rothwell and Blagoy Ivanov took place on the main card of tonight’s UFC Wichita event.
Ben Rothwell (36-10 MMA) returns to action for the first time since April of 2016, where he suffered a unanimous decision loss to Junior dos Santos.
Prior to the setback, “Big Ben” has reeled off four straight wins, all via stoppage, over opponents Brandon Vera, Matt Mitrione, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett.
Ivanov enters tonight’s contest having won five of his past six overall, and is 16-2 in sum.
Round one begins and the fighters touch gloves. Rothwell takes the center of the octagon. He presses forward and backs Ivanov up against the cage. Blagoy circles free but Rothwell stays on him with pressure. “Big Ben” with a hard low kick. Ivanov misses with a counter hook. Rothwell continues to walk Ivanov down. Blagoy with a jab but Rothwell connects with a body kick. Both men swing big shots but miss. Rothwell with a nice left hook. That appeared to stun Ivanov. Blagoy circles off the fence and lands a nice right hand. Rothwell returns fire with a hard low kick. Blagoy with another nice right, this time to the body. Ben Rothwell is being very patient here. He lands a low kick. Blagoy goes to the body with a jab. The fighters exchange shots in the pocket. Ivanov circles off the fence. Rothwell chases after him and lands a low kick followed by a right hand. The horn sounds to end round one.
Round two of this UFC Wichita main card bout begins and Ben Rothwell once again comes out quickly and puts immediate pressure on Ivanov. He lands a jab but Blagoy returns fire with one of his own. Rothwell with a nice low kick. Ivanov pumps his jab but nothing lands. Rothwell comes forward and eats a jab for his efforts. Ben with a nice left hand over the top. He follows that up with a straight right and then a low kick. Ivanov with a crisp jab. He lands another. Ben continues to press but Ivanov is finding his range. Ben with a kick to the body that partially lands. Ivanov with another nice right hand up the middle. He lands a combination that gets Rothwell’s attention. Ben comes back with a right hand and then a shot to the body. Both men are happy to trade now. Rothwell lands a left but then gets tagged with a combination. More shots from in close. Ivanov decides to circle out. Rothwell closes the distance and lands a nice combination. Ivanov comes back with a big right hand over the top. Both men are busted up. Ivanov with a low kick. The horn sounds to end round two.
Round three begins and Rothwell lunges in with a right hand. Ivanov counters nicely with a combination. Ben continues to press but Blagoy is doing a good job of keeping his distance early. Rothwell with a head kick. Ivanov fires back with a right hand. Rothwell with an accidental poke and we break. Ivanov says he is good to continue so we do just that. Rothwell with a body kick and then a low kick that connects to the groin of Blagoy. Once again we briefly break and then restart. Rothwell with a front kick that just misses. Ivanov with a nice left hand and then a looping right. Rothwell returns fire with a big right hand of his own. That stunned Blagoy. Still he continues to stand and trade. Ivanov with a low kick. Rothwell with a left hand over the top. Ninety seconds remain. Both men miss with hooks. Ivanov tries to go over the top but falls short. Rothwell with some pressure now. He fires off a right hand and then an uppercut. The heavyweights meet in the center of the cage and throw big shots. Rothwell with a left. Ivanov answers with one of his own. Ben with a head kick. He lands a right. The horn sounds to end the fight.
Official UFC Wichita Results: Ivanov def. Rothwell (29-28 x3)